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Composer of the Week

François Couperin

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of François Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents.

Donald begins by leading us through a gallery of the musical portraits that Couperin composed – depicting his contemporaries Lully and Corelli, his aristocratic patrons, and well-known mythological figures. Next, he delves into Couperin’s extraordinary musical family tree, boasting a long line of 7 Couperins who served as organist of St Gervais in Paris. Throughout his glittering career at court, Francois Couperin maintained a loyal connection with his family church and dedicated several works for liturgical use there. We also hear about Couperin’s time in the court of Louis XIV – as the Sun King’s composer, writing music for the Versailles Chapel and court entertainment, but also as royal harpsichord tutor. Finally, Donald examines how Couperin embraced the new musical idioms emerging from other countries, and in particular introduced Italian flavours to his native French style.

Music featured:
La Couperin
Salve Regina
L’Apothéose de Corelli
La Charoloise
La Princesse de Sens
Arianne consolée par Bacchus
Regina coeli laetare, Alleluia
Louis Couperin: Five Fantasies
Pange lingua en basse
Quatre versets du motet
Armand-Louis Couperin: Simphonie de clavecins, in D major
La Manon
L’Enchanteresse
La Fleurie ou la tendre Nanette
Les plaisirs de Saint Germain en Laye
Domine salvum fac regem
Messe pour les couvents (Gloria)
Troisième Leçon
Les Nations (La Francois)
Messe pour les paroisses (Agnus Dei)
L’Art de toucher le clavecin
Respice in me
Concert Royaux (Premier Concert)
Pieces de violes avec la basse chifree (Deuxième Suite)
La Milordine
La Piemontoise
Les Gouts-reunis ou Nouveaux Concerts (Cinquième Concert)
Quatrième livre de Pieces de clavecin, Vingt-troisième ordre

Presenter: Donald Macleod
Producer: Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Francois Couperin : https://ift.tt/2yZz6Rl

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Anton Bruckner

Donald Macleod explores five personality traits of the strange genius Anton Bruckner.

Donald starts with Bruckner’s obsessive tendencies – from bar-counting to full-blown ‘numeromania’ which landed him in a sanatorium. We hear about Bruckner’s unshakeable religious belief, his influential divine visions, and his music for the church. Next, his veneration for Wagner – he was transformed by the experience of hearing Tannhaüser, and paid frequent tribute to the man he was wont to call “the master of all masters”. Bruckner was also one of music history’s great re-thinkers. His many musical revisions were driven by artistic insecurity, criticism and his constant search for proportion and balance. Finally, Bruckner’s superstitious nature is explored, particularly his fear of writing a ninth symphony.

Music featured:
Locus iste, WAB23
Symphony No 1 in C minor
Mass No 3 in F minor, WAB 28 (Kyrie)
Symphony No 5 in B flat, WAB105
Germanenzug (The Germanic Host), WAB 70
Mass No 1 in D minor, WAB 26 (Sanctus)
Ave Maria, WAB 6
Mass No 2 in E minor, WAB 27 (Credo)
Os iusti, WAB 30
Ecce sacerdos magnus, WAB 13
Virga Jesse, WAB 52
Psalm 150, for soprano, chorus and orchestra, WAB 38
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Act 3 (‘Ehrt eure deutschen Meister’)
Symphony No 3 in D minor, WAB 103
Christus factus est, WAB 11
Symphony No 7 in E, WAB 107
Symphony No 2 in C minor, WAB 102
Symphony No 4 in E flat, WAB 104 (‘Romantic’)
Symphony No 8 in C minor, WAB 108
Bruckner: Symphony No 9 in D minor, WAB 109
Symphony no 9 in D minor, WAB 109
Te Deum, WAB 45

Presenter: Donald Macleod
Producer: Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Anton Bruckner: https://ift.tt/2PFcX44

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Dora Pejačević

Donald Macleod introduces a first in Composer of the Week’s seventy-year history, the Croatian Countess Dora Pejačević.

Donald is joined by Professor Koraljka Kos and Professor Iskra Iveljic to discuss the known facts about the life and music of this Countess and her family. Although Pejačević was born into one of the most influential aristocratic families in Croatia, she became rather critical of her own class in later life. Through her position she did have the opportunity to study in Germany with noted music teachers of the day, and met and collaborated with some of the literary giants of the early twentieth century. Upon her death at the age of only 37, she left a catalogue of over one hundred compositions displaying a unique voice now largely forgotten.

Music featured:
Romance, Op 22
Symphony in F sharp minor, Op 41
Zwei Nocturnes, Op 50 No 2
Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 33
Zwei Lieder, Op 27 No 1 (I creep along my way)
Warum? Op 13
Berceuse, Op 2
Papillon, Op 6
Sechs Fantasiestucke, Op 17
String Quartet in C major, Op 58
Canzonetta, Op 8
Violin Sonata, Op 43 (Adagio)
Phantasie Concertante, Op 48
Verwandlung, Op 37
Blumenleben, Op 19
Madchengestalten, Op 42
Drei Gesange, Op 53
Piano Quintet in B minor, Op 40 (Poco sostenuto)
Humoreske and Caprice, Op 54
Trio in C major, Op 29 (Scherzo: Allegro & Lento)
Liebeslied, Op 39
Piano Sonata in A flat major, Op 57

Presenter: Donald Macleod
Producer: Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Dora Pejačević: https://ift.tt/2EPlEVl

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Composer of the Week Leonard Bernstein

Donald Macleod is joined by Bernstein protegée, conductor Marin Alsop, to look back at Bernstein’s hectic life as composer, pianist, thinker and entertainer.

There are no neutrals when it comes to Leonard Bernstein: exhibitionist, a playboy touring Italy in a Maserati, an exhilarating conductor, provocative thinker, ‘one of the most electrifying personalities of our time’. 2018 marks the centenary of this life-affirming composer who always preferred to call himself, simply, ‘musician’.

Donald and Marin begin in the world of jazz which inspired much of Bernstein’s finest work, then look at the composer’s gift for reaching new audiences through the theatre. They discuss Bernstein’s reputation as a musical thinker– treading a delicate line between the innovative and the kitsch, and trace his journey from upstart son of a Jewish immigrant to superstar ambassador for American music.

Thanks to the BBC radio and TV archives, we hear from Bernstein himself in interviews he gave through the course of his prolific career. We discover a man who was forceful in his views, passionate to the extreme, charismatic on the stage, but also latterly tormented by regrets and a feeling that he had never quite achieved the magnum opus inside him.

Music featured:

Enter Three Sailors (Fancy Free)

Prelude, Fugue and Riffs

The Lark (Latin Choruses)

The Age of Anxiety (part 2)

arr. Buddy Rich: West Side Story

The Children Fly (Peter Pan)

Wonderful Town (Overture)

A Quiet Place (Act 1 finale)

West Side Story (excerpts)

Slava! A Political Overture

Mass (excerpts)

I Hate Music!

Kaddish (1st mvt)

Samba (Divertimento)

Mr and Mrs Webb Say Goodnight (Arias and Barcarolles)

On the Waterfront (Suite)

Songfest (excerpts)

Lucky to be Me (On the Town)

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Bernstein: https://ift.tt/2My5HX1

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

Presenter: Donald Macleod

Producer: Michael Surcombe for BBC Wales

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Composer of the Week Alfred Schnittke

Donald Macleod explores the strange, brilliant and occasionally nightmarish world of the Soviet composer Alfred Schnittke.

The music of Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) is like being lost in a hall of mirrors. Staring back at you is the whole of music history – from Bach to modern pop via tangos, Soviet work songs, Gregorian chant and Viennese waltzes – refracted and distorted, and woven together to create a uniquely personal style. Thrilling, grotesque, occasionally nightmarish – Schnittke creates a world where everything has a hidden meaning. Beethoven’s Fifth suddenly springs terrifyingly out of the darkness in the midst of an otherwise chaotic symphony. Or a cheap Russian pop song appears inexplicably amidst a Baroque chorale. Schnittke’s world of suppressed meanings perfectly captured life under the cosh of Soviet Communism. All this week, Donald Macleod unpicks the strands of a musician often seen as the heir to Shostakovich – and perhaps the last truly great composer of the 20th century.

Donald begins by exploring the connections – musical, psychological and spiritual – between Alfred Schnittke and the great titan of Soviet music, Dmitri Shostakovich. He then unravels the term “polystylism”, which Schnittke himself coined to describe his fusing of wildly eclectic styles – from Bach to pop to hypermodernism to Tchaikovsky. We hear about Schnittke’s intense fame in the 1970s, and how his turn to a deeply devout musical style shocked the avant-garde and won him a whole new spectrum of admirers. Donald takes us through Schnittke’s most rollicking and significant year – 1985 – which saw the creation of five acknowledged masterpieces and the first of several crippling strokes. Seemingly, Schnittke’s mortality drove him to create ever more shattering music in his final years – to compose to the very bitter end, in the face of almost unimaginable physical challenges.

Music featured:

Concerto Grosso No 1 (arr. for flute, oboe, harpsichord, prepared piano and strings) (2nd mvt)

Violin Concerto No 1 (2nd mvt)

Piano Quintet (2nd mvt – “In Tempo Di Valse”)

Violin Sonata No 1

Symphony No 1 (2nd mvt)

The Cloak (Gogol Suite)

Concerto Grosso No 3

Voices Of Nature

Schnittke, arr Boguslavsky

Suite In The Old Style

Hymn No 3, for cello, bassoon, harp, harpsichord and tubular bells

Complete This Work Which I Began (Choir Concerto – 4th mvt)

Gloria – Credo – Crucifixus (Symphony No 2 “St Florian”)

O Master Of All Living (Choir Concerto – 1st mvt)

When They Beheld The Ship That Suddenly Came; If You Wish To Overcome Unending Sorrow; I Entered This Life Of Tears A Naked Infant (Psalms Of Repentance)

Moz-Art A La Haydn

Viola Concerto (1st & 2nd mvts)

Concerto Grosso No 4 / Symphony No 5 (2nd mvt)

Doctor Faustus lamented and wept…It came to pass (Faust Cantata)

Menuet, for violin, viola and ‘cello

Stille Nacht

Symphony No 6 (3rd & 4th mvts)

Piano Sonata No 1

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Schnittke: https://ift.tt/2vAhTuW

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

Presenter: Donald Macleod

Producer: Steven Rajam for BBC Wales

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Composer of the Week Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of undisputed master, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

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Composer of the Week Josquin des Prez

Donald Macleod and Jeremy Summerly discuss elusive Renaissance master, Josquin des Prez.

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Composer of the Week Ralph Vaughan Williams

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams

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Composer of the Week Luciano Berio

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Italian experimental composer, Luciano Berio

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